Of the many things there are to appreciate about summer around here, fresh produce is certainly one. The area where I live is surrounded by fields and orchards that grow an amazing variety of vegetables and fruit. It's very easy to eat locally in summer. But one big exception every summer is the arrival of the Rainier cherries. I first discovered these delights when I lived in Alberta. Their beautiful blushing colors caught my eye, and their heavenly cherry-creme flavor easily hooked me. They are quite expensive compared to other local cherries, but I always splurge on a bag (...or two) every summer.
I have to confess, I never really looked into their origin, other than to guess, by their name, that they might be from the West Coast area, but this year, now that I have this blog (which I began on July 1st last year) I decided to post about them, and find out more.
Rainier is a cultivar cherry, created in 1952 at Washington State University by Harold Fogle as a cross between the Bing and Van cultivars. Rainiers are sweet cherries with rich creamy-yellow flesh -- it's easy to see why they're considered to be the "cream of the crop." They're very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain, plus about 1/3 of a Rainier cherry orchard's crop is eaten by birds, so those that do make it to market are usually very dear, selling for $5 dollars a pound or more in the USA and as much as a dollar each in Japan.
If you love fresh cherries, I highly recommend shaking a few extra coins out of the piggy if you see Rainiers at the market. But don't be surprised if you find yourself making it an annual treat. And be thankful we don't shop in Japan!
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.